ArticlePDF Available

Rise of the New Middle Class in India and Its Changing Structure

Authors:
  • Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics

Abstract

After being largely stable between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, the new middle class in India (that is, those spending between $2 and $10 per capita per day) doubled in size between 2004-05 and 2011-12, amounting to nearly half of India's population. This growth, though largely in the lower middle class category, happened across a majority of states in both rural and urban areas. Structurally, the new middle class is quite different from the conventional understanding of it. Although dominated by upper castes, other caste groups too have entered the new middle class in large numbers. The occupational structure within the class is heterogeneous. The lower middle class is engaged in occupations similar to that of the poor, whereas the upper middle class is involved in traditional service activities as well as in new knowledge services.
SPECIAL ARTICLE
june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
40
Rise of the New Middle Class in India and
Its Changing Structure
Sandhya Kr ishnan, Neera j Hatek ar
The authors are grateful to Niels Beerepoot and Bart Lambregts for
their feedback on this paper, to Kabir Agarwal for GIS assistance and
to Pallavi Belhek ar and Mayank Gupta for assista nce with t he
National Sample Survey Offi ce data analysis. This research is funded by
the Netherlands Organisation for Scientifi c Research–Science for
Global Development.
Sandhya Krishnan (sandhya.krishnan102@gmail.com) is a PhD candidate,
Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of
Amsterdam and Department of Economics, University of Mumbai.
Neeraj Hatekar (neeraj.hatekar@gmail.com) teaches Economics at t he
Department of Economics, University of Mumbai.
After being largely stable between 1999–2000 and
2004–05, the new middle class in India (that is, those
spending between $2 and $10 per capita per day)
doubled in size between 2004–05 and 2011–12,
amounting to nearly half of India’s population. This
growth, though largely in the lower middle class
cate gory, h appene d acro ss a majori ty of s tates in both
rural and urban areas. Structurally, the new middle class
is quite different from the conventional understanding
of it. Although dominated by upper castes, other caste
groups too have entered the new middle class in large
numbers. The occupational structure within the class is
heterogeneous. The lower middle class is engaged in
occupations similar to that of the poor, whereas the
upp er middle cl ass is i nvolved in t radit ional s ervice
activitie s as well as in new know ledge serv ices.
Many recent studies have engaged in discussions on
the emergence of a “new” middle class in India (ADB
2010; Fernandes 2006; Krishna and Bajpai 2015;
Lah iri 2014). In genera l, it is ag reed t hat t he ch aract erist ic fea-
ture of the new middle class is its high level of consumption
expenditure relative to the earlier understanding of the mid-
dle class and its changing consumption habits. However, the
studies differ from one another over other aspects central to
the new middle class. While Asian Development Bank (ADB
2010) and Ravallion (2010) claim that the size of the class has
multiplied massively post 1990 and that it will drive global
consumption demand in the near future, Krishna and Bajpai
(2015) nd India’s new middle class growth to be stagnating.
Besides consumption, many scholars have also highlighted the
structural changes that the class has undergone in terms of
employment. Fernandes (2006), Fuller and Narasimhan (2007)
and Upadhya (2007) claim that the newness in the new middle
class lies in its employment in new service activities brought
about by economic reforms by liberalisation and globalisation.
They, however, nd little change in the social structure of the
new middle class in terms of entry of new members to the class
from non-middle class backgrounds. In contrast to this, Das
(2002) and Jaffrelot and van der Veer (2008) view newness in
terms of a more socially inclusive middle class that has tran-
scended traditional caste barriers.
This paper adds to the existing literature on the new middle
class in India by providing estimates of the size of the class
across different regions of India. It further assesses changes in
the structure of the class in terms of its social composition and
industry of employment. Our study not only adds to the exist-
ing body of literature on the nature of the new middle class in
India, but also provides critical insights on the country’s devel-
opment path over recent years. A large middle class is correlated
with higher growth, more education, better infrastructure, etc
(Easterly 2001). A large middle class which is geographically
and socially diverse implies inclusive growth. The structure of
the new middle class in terms of its employment distribution
refl ects the potential of the class to drive growth for the rest of
the society. For instance, a new middle class with many entre-
preneurs will generate employment and productivity growth
for the rest of the society (Banerjee and Dufl o 2008), whereas a
new middle class with regular-income earners will ensure enough
savings and investment in human capital accumulation.
The study draws on data from the National Sample Survey
Offi ce (NSSO) on household consumption expenditure in India.
SPECIAL ARTICLE
Economic & Political Weekly EPW june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 41
The NSSO data is widely recognised and employed by many
scholars to study various socio-economic aspects of the Indian
society. Surprisingly, with the exception of Meyer and Birdsall
(2012), no study on the new middle class in India has used this
data set yet. We use three quinquennial rounds of the NSSO on
household consumption expenditure: the 55th round, conducted
in 1999–2000,1 the 61st round conducted in 2004–05 and the
68th round carried out in 2011–12. We discard data from the
66th round of the survey conducted in 2009–10, as
2009–10 was declared a national drought year. In fact, the
68th round of the survey was conducted (just two years after
the earlier round) to replace data from the 66th round.
In spite of being widely discussed, the precise defi nition of
the new middle class in India remains ambiguous. To begin
with, a review of existing defi nitions of the new middle class is
presented, b efor e a rriving at t he de nition used in this study.
What Is the New Mi ddle Class?
While the new middle class is generally identi ed based on its
income or consumption, existing studies differ in their income/
consumption ranges used to defi ne the class. Broadly, these
defi nitions can be classi ed into relative and absolute types.
Relative defi nitions, such as that offered by Easterly (2001),
are essentially useful for cross-sectional analyses of the new
middle class. For inter-temporal studies like the present one,
absolute defi nitions need to be employed. We hence restrict
this discussion to absolute defi nitions of the new middle class.
One such absolute defi nition is proposed by Kharas (2010),
who defi nes the emerging new middle class in developing
countries as those with daily per capita incomes between $10
and $100 in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. The lower
bound is chosen with reference to the average poverty line in
Portugal and Italy, while the upper bound is chosen as twice
the median income of Luxembourg, the richest advanced
country. Meyer and Birdsall (2012) in their study on the new
middle class in India use the same lower threshold of $10 per
capita per day, mea su red i n 2005 PPP, but their upper bound is
defi ned at $50. They argue that the lower bound of $10 is the
global minimum to be categorised as the new middle class.
The upper bound is set at $50 because most Latin American
households earning beyond this limit consider themselves
rich, not middle class (Birdsall 2012). A popular defi nition of
the new middle class in the Indian context is provided by the
National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). It
defi nes new middle-class households as those earning an
annual income between `2 lakh and `1 million in 2001–02
prices (Shukla 2010: 100). Assuming an average household
size of fi ve, this approximately equals $11 and $55, respective-
ly, per capita per day, in 2005 PPP terms, close to the bounds
defi ned by Meyer and Birdsall (2012). In essence, these de ni-
tions imply that the new middle class in developing countries
are those who are well above poverty not only in their own
countries, but also by the standards of developed countries.
In contrast to the above defi nitions, which compare the new
middle class in developing countries with the global middle
class, some scholars defi ne the new middle class by developing
country standards alone. They include within the new middle
class all those individuals who are fairly above the poverty
line, having a suffi cient amount of discretionary income. Rav-
allion (2010), for instance, identi es the developing world’s
new middle class as those who are not poor by the standards of
developing countries but are poor by the standards of rich
countries. He de nes the lower bound of new middle class as
the median of poverty lines of 70 developing countries, which
is $2 per capita, per day, measured in 2005 PPP. The upper
bound is defi ned as the poverty line of the United States (US) in
2005, which is $13. ADB (2010) identifi es the new middle class
in developing Asia using the same lower bound of $2, but a
higher upper bound of $20 per person per day, measured in
2005 PPP. Using household surveys of 13 developing countries
including India, Banerjee and Dufl o (2008) defi ne the new
middle class as those who spend between $2 and $10 per capita
per day, valued at 1993 PPP. Within the new middle class, they
further consider two groups of households: the lower middle
class, whose daily per capita expenditures are between $2 and
$4 and the upper middle class, whose expenditures lie bet-
ween $6 and $10.
Different from these income- and consumption-based app-
roaches, Krishna and Bajpai (2015) defi ne the new middle class
in India on the basis of ownership of transportation assets.
They defi ne the lower middle class as those whose best available
means of transportation is a motorcycle or a motor scooter. The
upper middle class consists of those who possess a car, where-
as the rich are those who possess both an air conditioner and a
car. The authors are of the view that in contemporary India,
assets are the key status symbols of new middle class identity.
Given these various defi nitions, the critical question is
which of them best describes the new middle class in India.
Though Krishna and Bajpai (2015) use a rather novel defi ni-
tion, which well relates to the contemporary middle class in
India, it is not without its own problems. First, the authors
themselves point out that assets are relatively more stationary
than income or consumption, implying that ownership of
assets does not accurately re ect the fast-paced change in
income and consumption taking place in India lately. Second,
ownership of type of transportation assets depends on local
infrastructure, particularly, transport facilities, which are
quite diverse in different regions of India. A uniform transpor-
tation-asset-based classifi cation is hence unsuitable for defi n-
ing the new middle class at the national level.
The income bounds of the new middle class put forth by
Kharas (2010), Meyer and Birdsall (2012) and NCAER are quite
high, making them unsuitable to be applied to a developing
country like India. Further, income-based defi nitions are cum-
bersome to be applied on consumption expenditure data of the
NSSO. The defi nitions proposed by ADB (2010), Ba ne rje e and
Dufl o (2008) and Ravallion (2010) are consumption-based, set
at a lower bound of $2. A minimum expenditure of $2 is rea-
sonable to be identifi ed as new middle class in a developing
country as it ensures a base amount of consumption that can
contribute economically to growth (Chun et al 2011). However,
ADB (2010) and Ravallion (2010) measure expenditures in
SPECIAL ARTICLE
june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
42
2005 PPP. Compared to the World Bank povert y line of $1.9 a
day (2011 PPP), it places the new middle class only marginally
above the poor. As against this, Banerjee and Du o (2008)
measure expenditure at a higher real value of 1993 PPP which
is suffi ciently greater than both the global poverty line and the
national poverty line for India.2 The upper bound of $10 is ideal
to en sure t hat no non-ne w middle cla ss per son is le f t o ut of t he
category just as no af uent member is included in the new
middle class. We therefore nd the defi nition offered by
Banerjee and Dufl o (2008) the most fi tting among all existing
defi nitions of the new middle class.
Estimati ng the Size of the New M iddle Class
After having identifi ed the most suitable de nition for the
new middle class, we estimate its size for the years 1999–2000,
2004–05 and 2011–12. To do this, we fi rst convert the con-
sumption expenditure ranges proposed by Baner jee and Dufl o
(2008) in 1993 PPP dollars (private consumption) to Indian ru-
pees. Thereafter, we adjust them for infl ation rates in India for
the years under consideration. To calculate infl ation rates, we
use the gross domestic product (GDP) defl ator instead of the
Consumer Price Index (CPI). We do so because the new CPI
series for India (CPI-rural and CPI-urban) is available only from
2011–12 onwards. Older CPI indices do not correctly refl ect
prices faced by the aggregate national population as they are
restricted to CPI-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) or Industrial
Workers (CPI-IW) alone. Nevertheless, we compare the new
middle-class expenditure ranges for rural and urban areas
using both GDP defl ator and CPI-AL (for rural areas) and CPI-IW
(for urban areas) adjusted prices. Since we found no signi -
cant difference in the expenditure ranges, we settled for the
GDP defl ator. The rupee-denominated expenditure ranges for
the different classes thus obtained are presented in Table 1.
Table 2 shows the size of different classes in India. Between
1999–2000 and 2004– 05 (henceforth t1) there was no signi -
cant change in the size of the new middle class in India. In fact,
the share of the new middle class in total population shrunk mar-
ginally, while that of the poor increased. Within the new middle
class, the middle-middle, and upper-middle classes expanded,
but this was offset by a larger decline in the share of the lower
middle class. Rural India showed a similar trend, where the
poor swelled in numbers, proportion of the lower middle class
declined, while the rest of the classes expanded marginally.
Urban India, in contrast, witnessed a marginal decline in the
share of the poor, although in absolute numbers, it increased
by about 5 million. The urban new middle class expanded
slightly, but only due to growth in the middle-middle and
upper-middle classes.
From 2004–05 to 2011–12 (henceforth t2), however, we
witnessed an astonishing change in class composition in India.
The share of the poor declined from over 70% to less than 50%
of the population. The new middle class, which accounted for
less than 30% of the population earlier, rose to over 50%. In
absolute size, the new middle class almost doubled, from 304
million in 2004–05 to 604 million in 2011–12. The middle- middle
and upper-middle classes also expanded, from a mere 5% of the
population in 2004–05 to 13% in 2011–12. But interestingly, the
bulk of the expansion in the new middle class in this period was
led by the lower middle class, which constituted three-fourths
of the total new middle class population. Also, unlike the ear-
lier period, both rural and urban areas witnessed an increase
in the share of the new middle class and reduction of the poor.
In fact, rural India surpa ssed its urban counterpart in terms of
total new middle class population by 107 million more people.
Our analysis suggests that the eight years bet ween 2004–05
and 2011–12 have been quite signi cant for India, in both
rural and urban areas. The new middle class has swelled in an
unp r ece dente d fa shion, alb eit main ly i n the $2 to $4 c atego ry.
Several people have come out of poverty to join the lower
middle class ranks. Our fi ndings are in sharp contrast to those
of Fernandes (2006), who cla ims that the new middle class
does not entail entrance of any new members to the class, and
Krishna and Bajpai (2015), who fi nd the size of the Indian new
middle class declining in the recent years. Moreover, these
studies view the new middle class as essentially an urban
phenomenon, which is also in contradiction to our results.
It could be argued that the deviation in our results from existing
studies is merely a matter of differences in the defi nition of the
Table 1: Daily Per Cap ita Consumpt ion Expendi ture Range for D ifferent
Classes i n India Using t he Banerjee –Duflo De finition (in `)
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
Poor (<$2) <20.3 <24.7 <39.5
Ne w mi ddl e cl ass ($2–$1 0) 20. 3–10 1.7 24. 7–123. 4 39. 5–197. 3
Lower middle clas s ($2–$4) 20.3–40.7 24.7–49.4 39.5–78.9
Middle-m iddle class ($4–$6) 40.7–61.0 49.4–74.0 78.9 –118.4
Upper middl e class ($6–$10) 61.0–101.7 74.0–123.4 118.4–197.3
Af f l ue nt (>$ 10 ) >10 1.7 >12 3. 4 >197 .3
Source: Auth ors’ calcu lations using Wo rld Data Ban k (PPP rates—pr ivate consum ption)
and Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy, Reserve Bank of In dia (GDP defl ator).
Table 2: Size of Di fferent Cl asses in India (%)
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
India
Poor (< $2) 70.7 (707.5) 71.4 (777.3) 47.8 (574.8)
New middle ($2–$10) 28.9 (289.7) 27.9 (304.2) 50.3 (604.3)
Lower-middle ($2–$4) 23.6 (23 6.3) 21.8 (237.8) 37.1 (446. 3)
Middle-m iddle ($4–$6) 3.9 (38.7) 4.2 (45.4) 9.0 (108.5)
Upp er-mi ddle ($6–$10) 1.5 (14.7 ) 1.9 ( 21.0) 4.1 (49. 5)
Affl uent (>$10) 0.4 (3.8) 0.7 (7.5) 1.9 (22.9)
Rural
Poor (< $2) 79.6 (597.0) 81.4 (662.1) 58.2 (499.1)
New middle ($2–$10) 20.3 (152.2) 18.4 (149.6) 41.4 (355.7)
Lower-middle ($2–$4) 18.3 (137.1) 16.2 (131.4) 34.9 (299.1)
Middle- middle ($4–$6) 1.6 (12.0) 1.7 (13.8) 5.1 (43.4)
Upper-middle ($6 –$10) 0.4 (3.1) 0.5 (4.4) 1.5 (13.2)
Afflu ent (>$10) 0.1 (0.6) 0.2 (1.8) 0.4 (3.4)
Urban
Poor (< $2) 44.0 (110.6) 41.8 (115.3) 22.0 (75.6)
New middle ($2–$10) 54.7 (137.4) 56 .1 (154.5) 72.4 (248.7)
Lowe r-mi ddle ($ 2–$4) 39.5 (9 9.1) 3 8.6 (10 6.3) 42 .8 (147.2)
Middle-middle ($4–$6) 10.6 (26.7) 11.5 (31.7) 18.9 (65.1)
Upper-middle ($6–$10) 4.6 (11.6) 6.0 (16.5) 10.6 (36.4)
Affl uent (>$10) 1.3 (3.2) 2.1 (5.7) 5.7 (19.4)
Figures in brackets are population size in million.
Consumption expenditure is based on Mixed Reference Period (MPCE-MRP) of the NSS surveys.
Source: Auth ors’ calcul ations based o n NSS Househol d Consumer Exp enditure Sur vey,
55th, 61st and 68th roun ds and Reser ve Bank of India (an nual populat ion figure s).
SPECIAL ARTICLE
Economic & Political Weekly EPW june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 43
new middle class. Hence, to verify the robustness of our results, we
carry out an exercise to check how the estimates vary with
changes in defi nition of the new middle class. We compare the
defi nition that we use with three other defi nitions, namely, ADB
(2010), Meyer and Birdsall (2012) and Krishna and Bajpai (2015).
The fi rst defi nition defi nes new middle class as those who are
just above the poverty line; the second compares them to the
global middle class; while the third uses transportation assets as
the defi ning characteristic of the new middle class.3
, 4 We nd
that depending on the defi nition used, the size of the new middle
class varies drastically (Figures 1a–1c). In rural India, by the
defi nition of Meyer and Birdsall (2012), the new middle class
was as small as 5% in 2011–12, compared to 41% by the defi nition
of Banerjee and Dufl o (2008). Similarly, the size of the urban
new middle class varied between 20% and 80%, depending on the
defi nition used. However, irrespective of the defi nition, we see
that growth in the share of the new middle class was almost fl at
in t1, but rose remarkably in t2. Moreover, even by the ownership
of assets-based defi nition of Krishna and Bajpai (2015), we fi nd
the new middle class to have expanded in both rural and urban
areas, much in contrast to the fi ndings of the authors themselves.
This shows that our estimates of the size of the new middle class
are in general robust to changes in defi nition of the class.
Regional Distribution
Our fi ndings so far reveal that expansion in new middle class
is not con ned only to urban India. But how have different
states of India performed in terms of new middle class growth?
Are new middle class members located in few of the states or
do all states have a fairly equal share of new middle class
members? This section conducts a statewise study of new
middle class distribution to answer these questions. Our
analysis is, however, limited to the period t2 as the reconsti-
tution of a few states in 2000 makes comparison between t1
and t2 unfeasible for the reconstituted states. Nevertheless,
Appendix 1 (p 47)gives statewise new middle class size for
all three years.
Statewise analysis shows that in 2004–05, the proportion of
new middle class population in many of the states in India was
below the national average, that is, less than 30% of the re-
spective state populations (Figure 2a). Only two southern states,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala, two western states, Maharashtra and
Gujarat, and some of the states in the north, such as Jammu and
Kashmir, Haryana, and Punjab were among the large states with
a new middle-class population share above the national average.
In 2011–12, the fraction of new middle class population
increased in a majority of the states (Figure 2b). But more
Figure 1a: New Mid dle Class Size by D ifferent D efinitio ns, India
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Percentage
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
ADB (2010)
Banerje e and Dufl o (2008)
Krishna an d Bajpai (2015)
Meyer and Bi rdsall (2012)
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Percentage
Figure 1b: New Mid dle Class Siz e by Differen t Definitio ns, Rural Inid a
ADB (2010)
Banerje e and Dufl o (2008)
Krishna an d Bajpai (2015)
Meyer and Bi rdsall (2012)
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
0
20
40
60
80
100
Percentage
Figure 1c: New Mi ddle Class Siz e by Differen t Definiti ons, Urban Ind ia
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
ADB (2010)
Banerje e and Dufl o (2008)
Krishna an d Bajpai (2015)
Meyer and Bi rdsall (2012)
Source: Auth ors’ calcul ations using NSS Ho usehold Consu mer Expend iture Surve ys, 55th,
61st a nd 68 th r ound s.
< 30
30–50
50–80
> 80
New middle c lass size
(in %)
Figure 2a: Sta tewise Share of N ew Middle Class i n Total State Populati on,
India, 2004–05
Source: Auth ors’ calcul ations using 61st and 68 th rounds of NSS Ho usehold Cons umer
Expenditure Survey.
Figure 2b: Sta tewise Share of N ew Middle Clas s in Total State Populati on,
India, 2011–12
Source: Auth ors’ calcul ations using 61st and 68 th rounds of NSS Ho usehold Cons umer
Expenditure Survey.
New middle c lass size
(in %)
<30
30–50
50–80
>80
SPECIAL ARTICLE
june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
44
importantly, dist ribution of new m iddle class population share
also became more balanced across states. That is, many more
states in 2011–12 had a new middle class population share greater
than the national aver age (50%), as compared to 200405 . Some
states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Raja sthan in
parti cular fared exceptionally well. Proportion of new middle
class in Andhra Pradesh increased from 29.6% to 71.3% in t2,
while that of Rajasthan grew from 26.3% to 65.5% in the
same period. Similarly, new middle class population share in
Karnataka improved from 25.8% to 55.7%. While these states
performed exceptionally well, states in the east of India, especially,
showed hardly any growth in the share of new middle class pop-
ulation. In Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha, though
the proportion of new middle class population showed an im-
prove me nt, it cont inued to st ay at les s t han 30% th roug hout t 2.
Our statewise analysis thus reveals that not only has the new
middle class in India expanded across both rural and urban
areas, but also across different states. While some states have
performed better than the others, overall, all states have wit-
nessed an increase in the share of new middle class population.
Further analysis on why some states have performed better
than the others is called for, which however is beyond the
scope of this paper.
Qualitat ive Changes in Struc ture
It is clear that between 2004–05 and 2011–12 India has wit-
nessed a massive expansion in the size of its new middle class
across different states. This section investigates whether this
quantitative expansion is accompanied by qualitative changes
in the structure of the new middle class. The middle class in
India has been historically dominated by upper-caste Hindus,
engaged in professional, white-collar occupations (Haynes et
al 2010; Joshi 2010). Existing studies on the new middle class
point out that liberalisation and globalisation have changed
the nature of jobs that the Indian middle class is engaged in.
Fernandes (2006), for instance, extensively illustrates how
those employed in new service activities in multinational fi rms
are identifi ed as the new middle class. The information tech-
nology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries
especially have often been linked to new middle class forma-
tion (Fuller and Narasimhan 2007; Murphy 2011; Upadhya
2007). In terms of social composition, however, extant studies
nd the new middle class to have changed little, where it con-
tinues to be dominated by upper-caste Hindus (Krishna and
Bajpai 2015; Upadhya 2007). These studies are however rela-
tively dated, that is, they do not capture the remarkable ex-
pansion in the size of the new middle class in t2. This calls for
an investigation into whether the unprecedented expansion of
the new middle class after 2004–05 entails a socially diverse
and inclusive new middle class, which is engaged in occupa-
tions different from those of the earlier middle class.
Social composition: Table 3 shows that the new middle class
is dominated by upper castes (included in “other castes” cate-
gory), while the lower castes are mostly found among the poor.
In 1999–2000 and 2004–05, when about 28% of India belon ged
to the new middle class, upper castes were over-represented,
with over 40% of them in the new middle class. Similarly, in
2011–12, when 50.3% of India was in the new middle class, a far
larger share of 63.7% of upper castes were in the same category.
In contrast to this, the lower castes are under-represented in
the new middle class. The Scheduled Tribes (STs), in particular,
are the most poorly represented section. Over 70% of STs were
poor in 201112, with only 29.2% of them in the new middle
class. Caste identity thus appea rs to continue to i n uence new
middle-class membership, with STs being the most underprivi-
leged group, followed by the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the
Other Backward Classes (OBCs). It is nevertheless worth not-
ing that the massive expansion in the size of the new middle
class in t2 has benefi ted all caste groups evenly. While 63.7% of
upper castes were in the new middle class in 2011–12, from just
44.3% in 2004–05, the proportion of new middle class mem-
bers withi n a ll lowe r c astes also more than doubled.
While caste identity signifi cantly infl uences class member-
ship, there is little class-wise difference across religions. Table 3
shows the class distribution across the two largest groups of
religion in India, the Hindus and the Muslims. While the Hindus
are better represented than the Muslims in the new middle
class, particularly in the middle-middle and upper-middle class-
es, the differences among the two groups are not as stark as
they are among castes. Also, members of both religions have
benefi ted fairly in the same proportion from the massive
increase in consumption expenditure in India in t2.
Employment: As discussed earlier, many existing studies such
as that of Fernandes (2006) and Upadhya (2007) associate the
new middle class in India with a change in the status of jobs,
from employment largely in public sector to occupations in
Table 3: Class Dis tributio n across Caste s and Religion s, India
Poor New Middle Lower- Middle- Upper- Aff luent
Middle Middle Middle
(<$2) ($2–$10) ($2–$4) ($4–$6 ) ($6–$10) (>$10)
1999–2000
Scheduled Castes 83.8 16.1 14.6 1.2 0.3 0.1
Scheduled Tribes 86.8 13.1 11.6 1.2 0.3 0.0
Other Back ward Classes 75.5 24.3 21. 2 2.4 0.7 0.2
Other castes 55.3 43.9 33.5 7.3 3.1 0.8
Hindus 71.3 28.3 23.1 3.8 1.4 0.4
Muslims 75.7 24.2 21.0 2.4 0.8 0.1
2004–05
Scheduled Castes 83.4 16.5 14.4 1.5 0.6 0.1
Scheduled Tribes 88.0 12.0 10.2 1.4 0.4 0.1
Other Back ward Classes 75.2 24.5 20.5 2.9 1.1 0.3
Other castes 53.9 44.3 31.7 8.3 4.3 1.7
Hindus 71.9 27.4 21.5 4.0 1.9 0.7
Muslims 77.6 22.0 18.5 2.5 1.0 0.4
2011–12
Scheduled Castes 59.1 40.4 33.1 5.4 1.9 0.5
Scheduled Tribes 70.5 29.2 24.9 3.1 1.2 0.4
Other Bac kward Classes 48 .7 50.3 39.0 8.2 3.1 1.1
Other castes 31.6 63.7 40.8 14.7 8.2 4.7
Hindus 48.1 49.9 36.9 9.0 4.0 1.9
Muslims 54.0 45.1 36.5 6.1 2.5 0.9
Source: Auth ors’ calcul ations based o n NSS Househol d Consumer Exp enditure Sur vey,
55th, 61st and 68th roun ds.
SPECIAL ARTICLE
Economic & Political Weekly EPW june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 45
new service activities in private domestic or multinational
rms. However, these studies implicitly assume that only those
working in new economy jobs are part of the new middle class.
This calls for a meticulous investigation into the type of occu-
pations that the 600 million strong new middle class is engaged
in. Because the new middle class has primarily exp anded in t2,
the analysis here is restr icted to this period, focusing on a few
important categories of industries. Complete data on classwise
distribution of each industry of occupation for all three years
under study is provided in Appendices 2a and 2b (pp 47–48). It
may be noted that the data presented in this section pertains
to the household and not the individual level. The primary
occupation of the household is that from which the household
incurs the maximum amount of income.
Figures 3a and 3b show that in 2004– 05 the rural new mid-
dle class was mostly engaged in agriculture, manufacturing
and trade, while three-fourths of the urban new middle class
was employed in service activities such as transportation,
administrative activities, education and health, besides manu-
facturing and trade. In 2011–12, even as agriculture continued
to employ the largest share of rural new middle class house-
holds, a substantial proportion of households worked in con-
struction activities, making it the second largest employer of
rural new middle class, after agriculture. Consequently, the
share of rural new middle class households involved in trade,
health and education witnessed a fall. Similarly, in urban areas,
the fraction of new middle class households engaged in tradi-
tional middle-class occupations of manufacturing, trade and
ser vices recorde d a marginal fall in 2011–12, wh ile t hat in con-
struction activities increased noticeably. However, in contrast
to claims made by Fernandes (2006) and others, new service
activities represented by nance, insurance and information
and communication technology (ICT) industries have a rather
limited role in new middle class formation at the national level.
In rural areas, a negligible fraction of the new middle class
was employed in new service activities in 2004–05, which
further declined in 2011–12. In urban areas, though 5.8% of the
new middle class was employed in these services in 2004–05,
it declined to 5% in 2011–12.
There are also considerable differences in employment
distribution within the new middle class. As Appendix 2a
shows, in rural areas, agriculture and construction activities
are more common among the lower-middle than the middle-
middle and upper-middle classes, whereas the latter are more
often engaged in typical middle-class occupations of trade,
manufacturing, education and health than in construction
activities. In fact, the occupational structure of the lower middle
class is not very different from that of the poor. Similarly, a
larger proportion of the urban lower middle class is engaged in
manufacturing, trade and construction activities, than the
upper middle class (Appendix 2b). In comparison, a larger
fraction of the urban upper middle class is employed in admin-
istrative services, education and health and fi nance, insurance
and ICT than the lower middle class.
Our fi ndings thus show that a large proportion of the new
middle class in India continues to be employed in traditional
middle-class occupations, but several of those who have
emerged out of poverty and entered the lower middle class are
in industries such as construction, which are generally not
considered typically middle class. The new middle class is
thus not only quantitatively larger, but also qualitatively quite
different from the traditional middle class. Moreover, in con-
trast to claims made in existing studies by Fernandes (2006)
and others, we fi nd that new economy services have played a
rather limited role in new middle class formation in India.
Most of the households employed in these services belong to the
urban upper-middle and affl uent classes, which have hardly
expanded during t2. Considerable differences in employment
distribution of households within the new middle class sug-
gest that it is necessary to differentiate between groups
within the new middle class, which is missing in a majority of
the extant studies.
Conclusions
This paper traces the expansion of the new middle class in
India and its structural changes in the period between
1999–2000 and 2011–12. We fi nd that in the initial period
between 1999–2000 and 2004–05, growth of the new middle
class was modest. In the latter period from 2004– 05 to 2011–12,
the size of the new middle class almost doubled, totalling
over 600 million individuals, or half of India’s population.
Moreover, this expansion was witnessed across both rural
and urban ar eas, as well as in a majo rit y of t he st ates of India .
We al so nd that this growth was primarily led by the
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Percent
Figure 3a: Employment Distribution of New Middle Class Households,
Rural India
2004–05 2011–12
Agriculture
Manufacturing
Construct ion
Trad e
Accom and transport
Admn and defence
Educatio n and health
0
5
10
15
20
25
Percent
Figure 3b: Employment Distribution of New Middle Class Households,
Urban India
Source: Auth ors’ calcul ations using NSS Ho usehold Cons umer Expen diture Surve y, 61st and
68th rounds.
2004–05
2011–12
Agriculture
Manufacturing
Construct ion
Trad e
Accom and transport
Admn and defence
Educatio n and health
SPECIAL ARTICLE
june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
46
lower middle class, while the middle-middle and upper-mid-
dle categories were relatively subdued. Qualitatively, the new
middle class is quite different from the earlier middle class in
India. While the upper castes dominate the new middle class,
we fi nd that a considerable proportion of lower caste house-
holds too have entered the new middle class. There is diversity
within the new middle class also in terms of occupation. A
large section of the lower middle class is employed in occupa-
tions similar to that of the poor, that is, in agriculture and con-
struction activities, whereas several upper middle class
households are engaged in new service jobs in fi nance, insur-
ance and IT sectors.
Our results reveal that it is important to recognise that the
new middle class in India is not a homogeneous entity, but
consists of quantitatively and qualitatively distinct subgroups.
The lower middle class merits attention for its large size and
rapid growth. The upper middle class is important, for it sym-
bolises the global middle class, which other classes below it
perhaps aspire to emulate. It is their spending capacity and
ability to drive consumption demand that binds these subgroups
together into a single class. Our results also show that studies
by Fernandes (2006), Fuller and Narasimhan (2007) and
Upadhya (2007), which describe new middle class as the
primar y benefi ciary of liberalisation engaged in high paying
new service activities, essentially refer only to the upper
middle class. The huge lower middle class, which has led new
middle class expansion in quantitative terms, has generally
been ignored by them.
The heterogeneity in the new middle class and its structural
composition has important developmental implications. The
period from 2004–05 to 2011–12 in India has not only been
remarkable in terms of expansion in new middle class size, but
this growth has also been geographically and socially inclusive.
However, the potential of this vast new middle class to play a
larger role in further spiralling economic growth will depend
on the capacity of the lower middle class in particular to invest
in human capital accumulation, actively participate in demo-
cratic processes, etc. The majority in the lower middle class
are perhaps not regular wage earners or well-educated (as
they are in agriculture or construction activities), which may
restrict their role in the development process usually associat-
ed with the middle class. It is hence necessary to further inves-
tigate the characteristics of the new middle class such as its
spending patterns and voting behaviour to understand the
larger implications of its massive growth. It is also vital to un-
earth the factors that have contributed to the unprecedented
expansion of the new middle class between 2004–05 and
2011–12. Is the increase in consumption expenditure a result of
increased incomes that will continue to grow further, thus
strengthening expansion of the new middle class? Or, is most
of this growth credit-driven, which is vulnerable to zzle out
in the event of an economic downturn?
Notes
1 It is argued that the 55th round of the NSSO sur-
vey on household consumer expenditure should
be altogether discarded as it has produced biased
results because of a faulty survey design. We are
of the opinion that it does provide some idea of
the level of consumption expenditure of that
time. We hence continue to use the data, being
aware that it may be slightly biased.
2 The national p overt y line suggested by the
Tendulkar Committee (Planning Commission
2013) is daily per capita expenditure of `27.2
(2011–12 prices) or $1.8 (2011 PPP) for rural India
and `33.3 (2011–12 prices) or $2.2 (2011 PPP)
for urban I ndia.
3 Meyer and Birdsall’s (2012) defi nition is income-
based, while NSSO surveys provide data on con-
sumption. Hence, to arrive at an income distribu-
tion from the consumption distribution we make
use of the quintile-wise income-expenditure ra-
tio of households for 2004–05 given in Shukla
(2010). We calculate corresponding income lev-
els for each consumption quintile, separately for
rural and urban areas and then combine them to
arrive at the aggregate income distribution.
Since the income-expenditure ratios are availa-
ble only for 2004–05, we assume the ratio to be
constant over all three years under analysis.
4 To estimate new middle class size by the Krishna
and Bajpai (2015) defi nition, we draw on NSS
data on ownership of tra nsportation assets.
Because NSSO survey for 1999–2000 does not
supply this data, we arrive at new middle class
estimates based on Krishna and Bajpai’s defi ni-
tion only for 2004–05 and 2011–12.
References
ADB (2010): “Special Chapter: T he Rise of Asia’s
Middle Class in Key Indicators for A sia and the
Pacifi c,” Asia n Development Bank, Manila.
Banerjee, Abhijit V and Esther D ufl o (2008): “What
Is Middle Cla ss about the Middle Classes
around the World?” The Journal of Economic
Perspectives: A Journal of the American Economic
Association, Vol 22, No 2, pp 3–28.
Birdsal l, Nancy (2012): “A Note on the M iddle Class
in Lati n America,” CGD Working Paper 303,
Washington DC.
Chun, Natalie, Rana Hasan and Mehmet Ulubasoglu
(2011): “T he Role of the Middle Class in Economi c
Development: What Do Cross-Country Data
Show?” ADB Economics Worki ng Paper Series
No 245.
Das, Gurucharan (2002): India Unbound: From
Independ ence to the Global Infor mation Age,
India: Penguin.
Easterly, William (2001): “The Middle Class Con-
sensus and Econom ic Development,” Journal of
Economic Growth, Vol 6, No 4 , pp 317 –35 .
Fernandes, Leela (2006): India’s New Middle Class:
Democrat ic Politics i n an Era of Econom ic Refor m,
Minneapolis: Universit y of Minnesota Press.
Fuller, C J and Haripriya Narasimhan (2007):
“Informat ion Tech nology Professionals and t he
New-Rich Middle Class in Chennai (Madras),”
Modern Asian Studie s, Vol 41, No 1, pp 121–50.
Haynes, Douglas, A bigail Mc Gowan, Tirthanka r
Roy and Har uka Yanagisawa (2010): Towa rd s a
Histor y of Con sumption in South Asia, India:
Oxford University Press.
Jaffrelot, Chr istophe and Peter van der Veer
(2008): “Introduction ,P att er ns o f Mi ddl e Cl ass
Consumption in India and China, Christophe
Jaffrelot and Peter van der Veer (eds), India:
Sage Publications, pp 11–34.
Joshi, Sa njay (2010): “Introduction,” in Sa njay
Joshi (ed), The Midd le Clas s in Colonial India,
Ne w De lh i: O xf ord Un ive rsi ty Pre ss , pp xv – lv i.
Khara s, Homi (2010): “The Emerging Middle Class
in Developing Countries,” Global Development
Outlook.
Krishna, Anirudh and Devendra Bajpa i (2015):
“Layers in Globalising Society and t he New
Middle Class in India: Trends, Distr ibution and
Prospects,” Economic & Political Weekly, Vo l 50,
No 5 , pp 69– 77.
Lahiri, Ashok K (2014): “The Middle Class and Eco-
nomic Reforms,” Economic & Political Weekly,
Vol 49, No 11, pp 37–44.
Meyer, Christian and Nancy Bi rdsall (2012): “New
Estimates of India’s Middle Class: Techn ical
Note,” Center for Global Development.
Murphy, Jonathan (2011): “Indian Call Centre
Workers: Vanguard of a Global Middle Class?
Work, Employment & Society, Vol 25 , No 3,
pp 417–33.
Planning Comm ission (2013): “Press Note on Poverty
Estimates, 2011–12,” Government of India, Press
Information Bureau.
Rava llion, Marti n (2010): “The De veloping World ’s
Bulging (but Vulnerable) Middle Class,” World
Development, Vol 38, No 4, pp 445–54.
Shukla, Rajesh (2010): How India Earns, Spends
and Save s: Unmask ing the Real India, New
Delhi: Sage Publications and NCAER–CMCR.
Upadhya, Carol (2007): “Employment, Exclusion
and ‘Mer it’ in the Indi an IT Industr y,” Economic
& Political Weekly, Vol 42, No 20, pp 1863–68.
available at
Gyan Deep
Near Firayalal, H. B. Road
Ranchi 834 001
Jharkhand
Ph: 0651-2205640
SPECIAL ARTICLE
Economic & Political Weekly EPW june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 47
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
State Rur al Urban State Rural Urba n State Rural Urban
Andaman and
Ni co ba r I sl an ds 7 0.1 6 3. 4 87.1 70. 2 61.0 8 8.1 84.2 85.1 82. 7
Andhra Pradesh 24.6 14.4 49.9 29.6 21.3 53.8 71.3 64.9 8 4.4
Arunachal Pradesh 40.5 39.2 54.7 40.7 37.8 62.9 50.8 45.5 72.5
Assam 15.5 11.0 55.6 21.5 16.9 66.5 30.7 26.5 67.1
Bihar 10.6 7.3 32.8 8.0 5.2 35.5 23.7 20.6 52.7
Chandigarh 78.4 71.5 79.5 70.2 53.7 72.0 69.5 93.6 67.6
Chhattisgarh NA NA NA 13.8 7.6 48.5 25.2 18.7 49.0
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 28 .5 22. 6 8 0.1 28.4 22.2 75 .3 4 4.5 2 2.8 74. 8
Daman and Diu 79.2 76.7 82 .7 85.9 88.4 81.4 93.1 98.5 84.5
De lh i 78.1 84. 8 75.9 72. 8 55.1 74 .1 79.5 81.8 79. 3
Goa 76.0 64.9 88.2 61.6 58.7 66.2 89.3 86.5 92.0
Gujarat 40.5 29.1 64.9 41.2 26.3 69.7 65.8 51.9 86.3
Haryana 56.5 52.9 66.0 50.0 45.4 62.5 78.8 79.9 76.1
Himachal Pradesh 50.9 47.8 83.0 46.6 42. 8 83.4 73.5 72.4 83.4
Jammu and Kash mir 59.5 53.6 82.4 54.1 46.8 75.8 71.2 68.1 81.7
Jharkhand NA NA NA 14.1 6.0 56.4 25.8 16.0 63.2
Karnataka 31.9 20.5 61.1 25.8 11.6 57.6 55.7 47.4 70.4
Kerala 56.3 53.7 63.5 56.5 54.0 64.9 78.2 78.3 78.0
Lakshadweep 81.7 71.6 87.9 76.3 69.9 82.8 90.3 95.6 85.1
Madhya Prade sh 17.6 10.3 43.2 16.9 9.6 4 0.7 33.5 25.5 56.8
Mahar asht ra 37.8 22.1 62.9 37.4 20. 5 62.3 67.2 55.4 81.2
Manipur 33.5 27.3 52.5 26.1 20.2 44.4 56.1 52.6 65.7
Meghalaya 39.5 29.6 88.9 35.3 29.1 75.3 63.1 56.3 88.8
Mizoram 71.6 60.9 87.7 69.8 58.1 87.7 69.8 50.8 91.9
Nagaland 92.1 91.0 94.7 83.8 79.4 94.5 86.2 83.1 91.9
Odisha 13.7 9.2 36.4 12.8 8.0 43.1 22.9 17.0 55.8
Puducherry 48.8 37.3 56.3 52.4 39.6 59.4 89.7 84.9 92.2
Punjab 58 .5 55 .1 65 .8 57.1 50.3 7 1.2 85 .8 86 .1 8 5.3
Rajasthan 35.3 29.5 56.0 26.3 19.7 49.5 65.5 61.2 79.3
Si kk im 30 .1 2 5.0 75 .6 38 .6 3 4. 2 73.1 6 6. 3 6 0.1 9 5. 8
Tamil Nadu 35.7 22.9 59.7 34. 5 19.9 57.8 67.7 58.6 79.0
Tripura 29.2 24.2 60.7 16.3 10.2 53.6 42.8 37.6 71.3
Uttarakhand NA NA NA 33.1 25.6 57.6 63.5 58.5 78.2
Uttar Pr adesh 22.0 17.5 39.8 20.1 14.9 41.2 31.5 26.8 48.7
West Bengal 2 3.3 14.7 54.9 26.6 17.0 56.0 45.0 35.8 70.5
Appendices
App end ix 1: S tate wis e Siz e of N ew Mi ddl e Cla ss Po pul atio n (Fi gures in %)
1999–2000 2004–05 2011–12
State Rur al Urban State R ural Urban State Rural Urban
Data for 1999 –2000 are not com parable wit h that of 2004 –05 and 2011–12 for the states of Bi har, Madhya Prade sh and Uttar P radesh a s the y wer e rec onst itu ted i n 20 00 to f orm thre e ne w
states of J harkhand, Ch hattisgar h and Uttar akhand, resp ectivel y. Data for the new s tates are hence u navailable f or 1999–2000.
Source: Auth or’s calculat ions using NSS sur vey on househ old consumpti on expendit ure, 55th, 61st and 68th roun ds.
Appendix 2a: Class-wise Distribution of Primary Industry of Occupation of Households—Rural India (Fi gures in %)
Finance, insura nce and ICT 0.2 1.4 1.2 2. 6 3.9 15.6
Real estate 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
Professional, scientific and
technical ac tivities 0.1 0.6 0.6 1.1 1.1 2.8
Public adminis tration, suppor t services,
defence and s ocial securit y 0.9 3.8 3. 5 5.7 5.2 6.0
Education, h ealth and social wor k 1.2 6.4 5. 5 11.5 14.1 13.9
Other ser vice activitie s (includes
recreation, extraterritorial
organisati ons and households
as employer s) 2.3 2.0 1.9 2.1 2.0 3.0
2011
12
Agricultur e, forestry and f ishing 64 .6 54.4 56. 6 46.9 38.0 39.1
Mining and quarr ying 0.5 0.5 0. 5 0.7 0.6 0. 8
Manufacturing 6.9 8.8 8.1 10.8 15.1 11.8
Electricity, gas, water supply,
waste management 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.9 1.4 1.5
Construc tion 14.5 10.3 11.0 7.5 5.6 3.1
Trade 5.3 8.2 8.0 9.7 9.2 10.3
Transportation, food and
accommodation 3.8 6.5 6.5 6.7 8.8 5.2
Finance, insura nce and ICT 0.1 1.1 0.8 2.0 2.0 5.8
Real estate 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 1.2
Professional, scientific and
technical ac tivities 0.1 0.4 0.3 0.8 0.9 1.7
Public administration,
support s ervices, defen ce
and social se curity 0.6 2.4 1.9 4.4 6. 3 5.9
Education, hea lth and social work 1.2 4.5 3.7 7.3 10.8 11.1
Other ser vice activit ies (includes
recreation, extraterritorial
organisati ons and households
as employer s) 2.1 2.4 2.4 1.9 1.2 2.6
Poor New Lower- Middle- Upper- Affluent
Middle Middle Middle Middle
(<$2) ($2–$10) ($2–$4) ($4 –$6) ($6 –$10) (>$10)
1999–2000
Agricultur e, forestry an d fishing 76.0 60.5 61.9 52.2 42.7 46.2
Mining and quarr ying 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.1
Manufacturing 6.6 8.7 8.5 9.7 10.4 6.4
Electricity, gas, water
supply, waste mana gement 0.2 0.9 0.7 1.4 3.8 0.4
Construction 4.1 3.8 3.9 2.6 4.4 6.4
Trade 4.3 6.9 7.0 6.3 5.9 4.3
Transportation, food and
accommodation 3.1 4.4 4.2 5.0 6.9 4.0
Finance, insuran ce and ICT 0.1 1.0 0.8 2.3 1.4 7.0
Real estate 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 0.0
Professional, scientific and
technical ac tivities 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.9 0.0
Public administration,
support s ervices, defe nce and
social security 1.0 5.3 4.9 7.3 8.9 10.5
Education, health and
social work 1.0 5.2 4.4 9.8 13.4 10.1
Other ser vice activitie s (includes
recreation, extraterritorial
organisati ons and households
as employers) 2.3 2.2 2.3 1.4 0.9 4.6
2004
05
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 70.6 53.9 55.9 41.6 41.7 30.6
Mining and quarr ying 0.7 0.8 0. 8 0.7 1.2 0.2
Manufacturing 7.4 8.8 8.3 11.8 12.2 17.0
Electricity, gas, water supply,
waste management 0.1 0.8 0.7 1.5 2.7 0.3
Construc tion 7.2 5.5 5.7 4.4 2.5 1.9
Trade 5.2 9.2 9.1 9.7 8.9 6.2
Transportation, food and
accommodation 3.8 6.4 6.4 6.9 4.3 2.6
Industrial classification based on National Industrial Classification (NIC), 2008.
Source: Auth ors’ comput ations using NSS H ousehold Con sumer Expe nditure Sur vey, 55th, 61st and 68th round s.
Poor New Lower- Middle- Upper- Affluent
Middle Middle Middle Middle
(<$2) ($2–$10) ($2–$4) ($4 –$6) ($6 –$10) (>$10)
SPECIAL ARTICLE
june 3, 2017 vol liI no 22 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
48
Poor New Lower- Middle- Upper- Affluent
Middle Middle Middle Middle
(<$2) ($2–$10) ($2 –$4) ($ 4–$6) ($6–$10) (>$10 )
1999–2000
Agriculture, forestry
and f ishing 12.0 4.3 5.3 2.6 1.3 2.5
Minin g and quarrying 1.1 1.1 1.2 0.8 0.6 0.3
Manufacturing 21.8 22.6 22.6 24.2 19.3 22.4
Electricity, gas, water supply,
waste management 1.0 1.4 1.1 2.1 1.8 1.1
Construc tion 13.3 5.6 6.6 3.9 2.9 4.2
Trad e 19.1 18. 6 19.9 16.5 14.9 8.7
Transportation, foo d and
accommodation 14.2 12.8 14.2 10.8 8.1 7.7
Finan ce, insurance and ICT 1.0 4.9 3.6 6.8 9.3 10.6
Real estate 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.4 1.0
Professional, scientif ic and
technical activities 0.6 2.0 1.5 2.6 3.8 7.9
Public administration,
supp ort service s, defence
and social security 5.0 14.6 12.9 16.7 20.9 19.7
Education, health and
social work 3.0 7.3 5.8 9.4 13.4 12.3
Ot her service ac tivities
(includes recreation,
extraterritorial organisations
and households as employers) 7.2 4.0 4.6 2.9 3.1 1.4
2004–05
Agriculture, forestry
and f ishing 10.2 3.8 4.7 2.3 2.4 3.0
Minin g and quarryin g 1.0 1.4 1.4 1.1 1.5 1.3
Manu factu rin g 21.8 22 .2 23.4 21. 8 16 .7 2 0.9
Elec tricity, gas, water supply,
waste management 0.7 1.4 1.3 1.5 1.6 1.2
Construc tion 15.1 5.8 6.7 4.1 4.0 3.0
Trade 19.8 21.0 21.5 21. 2 17.8 10.0
Transportation, foo d and
accommodation 15.9 12.9 14.3 11.4 8.5 8.0
Fina nce, insurance and ICT 1.1 5.8 4.0 6.8 14.1 18.0
Real estate 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.5
Professional, scientific
and te chnical activ ities 1.0 2.7 2.2 2.8 5.2 8.1
Public administration,
supp ort service s, defence
and s ocial securit y 3.7 10.7 9.2 13.6 13.7 9.6
Education, health and
social work 2.3 7.8 6.4 9.4 11.9 15.1
Ot her service ac tivities
(includes recreation,
extraterritorial organisations
and households as employers) 5.5 3. 2 3.5 3.0 1.5 1.1
2011–12
Agriculture, forestry
and f ishing 11.0 4.0 5.5 2.5 1.8 1.7
Mining and quarr ying 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.6 2.8
Manu factu rin g 19.4 21.9 21.3 2 5.2 18.1 13.3
Electricity, gas, water supply,
waste management 0.9 1.9 1.6 2.4 2.0 2.0
Construction 18.8 8.7 11.4 6.2 4.6 4.2
Trad e 19.5 20.3 21. 4 19. 2 18 .7 11.8
Transportation, food and
accommodation 15.2 13.7 14.8 13.2 11.5 7.6
Finance, insur ance and ICT 1.1 5.0 2.8 5.2 11.2 25.1
Real estate 0.1 0.9 0.5 1.2 1.4 1.6
Professional, scientific and
technical activities 0.3 1.7 1.1 2.5 2.2 5.0
Public administration,
supp ort service s, defence
and s ocial securit y 2.8 8.4 6.4 9.3 13.2 10.4
Education, health and
social work 2.7 7.6 5.6 8.6 11.7 12.7
Other ser vice activi ties
(includes recreation,
extraterritorial organisations
and households as employers) 7.2 5. 0 6.7 3.3 2.0 1.6
Appendix 2b: Class-wise Distribution of Primary Industry of Occupation of Households—Urban India (Fi gures in %)
Poor New Lower- Middle- Upper- Affluent
Middle Middle Middle Middle
(<$2) ($2–$10) ($2 –$4) ($ 4–$6) ($6–$10) (>$10 )
Industrial classification based on National Industrial Classification NIC (2008).
Source: Auth ors’ comput ations using NSS H ousehold Con sumer Expe nditure Sur vey, 55th, 61st and 68th round s.
Tagore’s Social Praxis
May 13, 2017
Rabindranath’s Praxis: Perspectives on Remaking the Social Pradip Kumar Datta
Rabindranath Tagore’s Theology of Work —Pradip Kumar Datta
Tagore on Modernity, Nationalism and ‘the Surplus in Man’ —Mohinder Singh
Sriniketan Encounters Ambedkar: Whither the Political? Anup Dhar, Anjan Chakrabarti
Cultivating a Taste for Nature: Tagore’s Landscape Paintings Shukla V Sawant
Performance and ‘Begging Missions’ —Rimli Bhattacharya
Rabindranath Tagore and the Democracy of Our Times —Asok Sen
For copies write to:
Circulation Manager,
Economic and Political Weekly,
320–322, A to Z Industrial Estate, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 013.
email: circulation@epw.in
... As rural households are relatively poorer than urban households, household wealth index contributes more to under-five mortality. There was a substantial increase of the middle wealth quintile onwards in urban India and people with the lowest and second-lowest wealth quintile increased in rural India [25]. . Unequal attainment of maternal education also increased the rural-urban gap in under-five mortality [26,27]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Rural Indians have higher mortality rates than urban Indians. However, the rural-urban gap in under-five mortality has changed is less researched. This paper aims to assess 1) whether the rural-urban gap in under-five mortality has reduced over time 2) Whether rural children are still experiencing a higher likelihood of death after eliminating the role of other socioeconomic factors 3) What factors are responsible for India’s rural-urban gap in under-five mortality. Methods We used all rounds for National Family Health Survey data for understanding the trend of rural-urban gap in under-five mortality. Using NFHS-2019-21 data, we carried out a binary logistic regression analysis to examine the factors associated with under-five mortality. Fairlie’s decomposition technique was applied to understand the relative contribution of different covariates to the rural–urban gap in under-five mortality. Results India has witnessed a more than 50% reduction in under-five mortality rate between 1992 and 93 and 2019–21. From 1992 to 93 to 2019–21, the annual decrease in rural and urban under-five mortality is 1.6% and 2.7%, respectively. Yet, rural population still contributes a higher proportion of the under-five deaths. The rural-urban gap in under-five mortality has reduced from 44 per thousand live births in 1992–1993 to 30 per thousand in 2004–2005 which further decreased to 14 per thousand in 2019–2021. There is no disadvantage for the rural children due to their place of residence if they belong to economically well-off household or their mothers are educated. It is wealth index rather than place of residence which determines the under-five mortality. Economic (50.82% contribution) and educational differential (28.57% contribution) are the main reasons for rural-urban under-five mortality gaps. Conclusion The existing rural-urban gap in under-five mortality suggests that the social and health policies need to be need to reach rural children from poor families and uneducated mothers. This call for attention to ensure that the future programme must emphasize mothers from economically and educationally disadvantaged sections. While there should be more emphasis on equal access to health care facilities by the rural population, there should also be an effort to strengthen the rural economy and quality of education.
... In 2015 for example, Indian middle-class consumption was about $1.9 trillion (in 2011 constant purchasing power parity or PPP) and accounted for about 5% of the global share. The subsequent numbers for 2020 and 2030 are predicted to be $3.7 trillion and 9% and $10.7 trillion and 17% respectively (Kharas 2017), all of which clearly indicate that the Indian middle class is a force to reckon with (Krishnan and Hatekar 2017). In other words, the current research makes valuable contribution both from economic as well as political marketing and planning perspectives. ...
Article
The author conducts a pilot study to investigate whether the benefits of global marketing and the purported liberal policies of the Government of India have percolated to the Indian middle-class since the year 2014, when the present government came to power. The author collects data through online surveys from Indian citizens, and then conducts a qualitative analysis of the same to test six propositions based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Model and the Theory of Reasoned Action. The author finds moderate to strong support for five of his propositions and sets the stage for a more robust research study that the author is planning to conduct on this highly relevant topic. Keywords: globalization, consumer experience, marketing strategy, political marketing
... The country has seen a 171% growth in PA visitation with 1.7 million tourists in 2005 and 4.6 million in 2015 (Karanth et al., 2017). The rising disposable incomes and the profound influence of social media on travel preferences have led to an increase in the demand for nature-based tourism in Indian PAs (Krishnan & Hatekar, 2017;Mawdsley et al., 2009). Nature-based tourism in India is largely domestic, with Indian tourists accounting for 96% of all visitors (Karanth et al., 2012;Karanth et al., 2017). ...
Article
Nature-based tourism is rising in popularity in developing countries. This presents a challenge for protected area (PA) managers forcing them to revisit management strategies to balance revenue generation while maintaining ecological integrity. Identifying tourists’ preference for nature-viewing can aid in improved tourism management while simultaneously enhancing visitor experiences. We conducted semi-structured surveys with 516 tourists visiting three popular Indian PAs to understand their nature-viewing preferences. We identified the factors influencing viewing preferences for seven biodiversity categories using recursive partitioning classification trees. We found the biodiversity categories such as charismatic megafauna and landscape to be major tourist-attractants. Despite this, we also found that prior engagement in conservation activities, age, and gender can influence preference for viewing low-profile categories such as herpetofauna and flora. Providing opportunities for people to engage in conservation at different levels of governance and especially for tourists when visiting a PA could increase appreciation for all species and funding available for their conservation.
... The growth of FDI inflow between 2002 to 2007 has significantly increased nearly fourfold post 'Auto Policy -2002' implementation. According to the data from the world bank, the FDI inflow in India has grown at the rate of 7% between 2010 to 2020, which is not only a good sign for the automobile industry but also for all the sectors contributing to the increase in middle-class population (Krishnan and Hatekar, 2017) growth. The improved ranking of 'EDB' and 'make in India' initiatives have also infused the confidence of global leading multinationals to invest more to localise the technology, products, and components in India. ...
Article
Full-text available
The automotive industry is in its transformation phase. The increasing environmental concerns such as temperature rise, pollution in major cities, and global warming, leading to new emission guidelines (NEG) are the major driving forces. The NEG has not only exposed the industry to challenges but is also ready to offer oceans of opportunities to the industry players. The principle aim of this study is to conceptualise the strategic intent and provide a framework for industry professionals to deal with challenges and threats compensated by industry strength and new opportunities effectively. A systematic hybrid analytical approach combining SWOT analysis, analytical hierarchy process, and external and internal factor evaluation modeling is applied to calculate the score of each environmental factor. Later, the results of the external and internal factor scores are plotted on the SPACE graph. A set of alternative strategic actions has been recommended and prioritised using the QSPM to deal with these challenges effectively.
... $ 0.5) and 700 Indian rupees (approx. $ 9); since the middle-class accounts for nearly half of the Indian population (29). ...
Article
Full-text available
There are multiple small health insurance schemes throughout India. However, high out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures, unaffordable and inequitable access to healthcare services still persist. In an attempt to address these pressing issues and achieve universal health coverage (UHC), a national health initiative named Ayushman Bharat (AB) was launched in September 2018, as a part of India’s National Health Policy 2017. AB has two main components, first, the health insurance scheme named the National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), which is also branded as ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ (PMJAY) and second, transforming the existing primary healthcare centers (PHC) under the control of State Governments. AB aims to transform nearly 150,000 PHCs to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare services across the country by 2022. PMJAY is designed to cover the costs of almost all secondary and many tertiary care procedures of about 40% of the total Indian population. For the first time, attempts have been made to provide affordable healthcare services to the population under a single common initiative in a big, democratic and diverse country like India. This paper provides an overview of the healthcare scheme. We have also analyzed some of its salient features and summarized them for an international audience which is inclusive of academics and public policy researchers.
... While extant literature captured and measured the causal relation of LMF with macro factors (Giovanis 2018;Antonietti et al. 2017;White et al. 2020;Kato and Zhou 2018;Lee and Park 2018;Wachsen and Blind 2016), there was almost no interest in qualitative studies that would possibly account for contextual considerations of LMF. The context that we intended to study involved a hazardous industry, and a lack of local labour force due to the uprising of middle-class society in the region (Tamil Nadu) (Krishnan and Hatekar 2017). Also, unlike in manager and employee-driven employment arrangements (Franklin and Labonne 2019), entrepreneurs generally plan and execute every aspect of labour deployment in smaller firms. ...
Article
We investigated negotiated Labour Market Flexibility (LMF) in small hazardous firms in the context of increased immigrant labourers and the non-availability of the local labour force. Extant literature discussed negotiation between the employer and employees, only if the firm satisfies the following conditions: firm-specificity, employee categorisation into core-periphery, and shared ethnic identities between the employees and employer. However, in this study, we broke away from these conditional boundaries, and used the Grounded theory to capture both entrepreneurs’ and employees’ views. Interestingly, we found a socially constructed interdependence between them, stemming from mutual reciprocity. The findings offer significant implications for substantive theory and practice in the realm of LMF in general, and negotiated flexible work arrangements in particular.
Article
Full-text available
The middle class in India is estimated to be roughly half of the population and, as such, holds considerable sway in influencing consumption trends. We explored food consumption practices and indicators for food transitions among middle-class households in the South Indian megacity of Bengaluru. Through 38 qualitative interviews, we asked respondents about their perceptions of food safety and how they navigate food safety risks in their daily food practices. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the topic of food safety into sharp relief, and consumers were keen on maintaining good health through food consumption. We engaged social practice theory to understand food shopping practices, the rise in immune-boosting foods and the consumer demand for safe, healthy food as this relates to wider sustainable food transitions. We found that middle-class consumers mitigate food safety risks through careful selection of where food is purchased. A rise in immune-boosting foods, traditional herbs and spices part of the regional diet are being revitalized. Demand for organically grown foods is hampered by a lack of trust in verification systems. We argued that government investment in building consumer confidence in both food safety, and organic labeling increases the willingness to pay a premium price among middle-class consumers.
Article
Vicia faba L. has a major role in the traditional diet and medicinal system of different countries. V. faba is a natural source of the precursor of dopamine (Levodopa) which is used treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The objective of the study is to investigate the in vitro antioxidant capacity, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry and docking of V. faba against Parkinson’s disease. The values indicated that acetone and aqueous extract exhibited a higher value of total phenolic and flavonoid contents respectively. The results of the 2, 2- diphenyl-1- picrylhydrazyl free radical scavenging assay and ferric reducing antioxidant power assay displayed that aqueous extract had better radical scavenging activity. In the 2,2-azinobis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonate) radical scavenging assay, ethanolic extract showed a lower Inhibitory Concentration50 value. In silico analysis indicated that the phyto-compounds present in V. faba has a higher binding affinity to the dopamine1 receptor. The results suggested that V. faba has good antioxidant properties and can be used as a dopamine agonist for the dopamine1 receptor which may be useful in combating Parkinson’s disease.
Chapter
Sport, by its very nature, is a competitive activity that pushes the bounds of human activity. Increasingly, technology has played an important role in influencing sport, driven by; market forces, technological advances, miniaturization and appetite for data. Clothing and smart nanotextiles now represent a significant area for competitive and commercial advantage through Drucker's adage “what you measure tends to improve” if these technologies have a performance measurement component. Historically, sport scientists have always had a very good idea of what they would like to measure. They even have a very good idea how they could measure it. However, they have been limited by the measurement process which has often required artificial laboratory environments to do so. The recent development and miniaturization of sensors that measure various complex characteristics, such as position, speed, acceleration, absolute angle, relative angle, angular velocity, angular acceleration, load, moment, pressure, surface area, and thermal inputs (both internal and ambient) have seen something of a revolution in sports science. Miniaturization of sensors and accompanying data collection systems mean this can now be collected without hindrance to the athlete, improving both the accuracy and ecological accuracy of the data. Smart nanotextiles are emerging from this process as next‐generation products, with the potential to allow nonimpeding data measurement that can be performed outside of the lab, over much longer duration, and in real‐life environments, than lab‐based techniques could ever provide. Potentially, even in competition events. Commercially, much of the same information has also been desired by the amateur athlete and fitness enthusiast, who have previously been constrained by cost and availability. This chapter will examine how both groups can have their needs addressed through the emerging applications of smart devices now being incorporated into textiles in sports, based on current and emergent technologies.
Preprint
Full-text available
The GHG emission pathway of India will be crucial for keeping temperatures below 2°C or even 1.5°C. It is still unclear how to reconcile increasing consumption and energy demand, and questions of wellbeing for all, with climate change mitigation. Here, we investigate the role of Indian household consumption by calculating carbon footprints for 12 income-categories and 33 products and services reported for both urban and rural conglomerations in 35 states and union territories of India. The impact of the urban population per person is higher (2.7 tCO2eq) than in rural areas (2.2 tCO2eq), but due to the larger population the rural population contributed two thirds of all emissions. High inequality in emission footprints is caused by high-income urban travellers and high-income meat consumption in rural and urban areas. The total emissions of consumption were 2.6 GtCO2eq, with fuel and lighting, transportation, milk and dairy, meat and egg, and rice contributing 1020, 280, 610, 430, and 130 MtCO2eq, respectively. Scenario analysis demonstrates that switching to solar energy, staying away from OECD-type animal-based diets, and avoiding status-driven mobility behaviour can deliver 52GtCO2eq emission savings until 2050. Nonetheless, fair burden sharing requires even stronger action by Global North and China.
Book
Full-text available
This book maps the earning, spending and saving profiles of Indians in the post-liberalisation era. It studies how socio-economic, religious, and individual characteristics lead to inequality in the incomes of households. Among other aspects of the problematique, it reveals that while a household's income is primarily dependent on socio-economic factors (occupation, education and the age of its chief earner), its economic prosperity is affected by factors such as its spending and saving levels, sectors of employment of members, state of residence, etc. The book is based on the results of the National Survey of Household Income and Expenditure (NSHIE) 2004-05, conducted under the aegis of the National Council for Applied Economics Research (NCAER). It not only offers valuable insights for economic analysts, policy makers, development professionals, and academics, but the primary data of the survey is also a driver for further research.
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates the channels through which the middle class may matter for consumption growth and development. Determinants of the size and the growth of the middle class are also examined. Using several different middle class measures and a panel of 72 developing countries spanning the period 1985-2006, we find that a larger middle class influences growth primarily through higher levels of human capital investment. We also find that large governments, higher levels of urbanization, greater democracy, ethnic concentration, and sea access are all associated with a larger middle class.
Article
The means of personal transportation to which one has access constitute an important part of one's relationship with globalisation, limiting or enhancing the scope of activity and area of influence. We define economic classes in relation to different transportation assets, considering as the lower middle class those who have motorcycles or motor-scooters, and as the upper middle class, those who own automobiles. Unambiguously identifying a middle class is difficult; the term is relational, context-dependent, and inchoate. However, the lower- and upper-middle classes, defined in this manner, are robust to alternative definitions: these groups have substantially higher incomes than groups below, own disproportionately large shares of other physical assets, and do much better in terms of education, health, media exposure, and social capital. The middle class increased from 11% in 1992 to almost double this percentage in the early years of the new millennium. Subsequently, its growth has slowed down, coming almost to a halt in rural areas. Fragility and volatility are in evidence; many, formerly in the middle class, have fallen back. It cannot be blithely assumed that India's middle class will grow much larger.
Book
This is a book about the emerging patterns of consumption among the middle classes of India and China. The book compares cultural shifts as a result of liberalization and globalization in these two emerging Asian powers. This volume does not compare India and China to the West, as books on similar subjects have done in the past. Instead they are compared with each other. This book is well-timed, considering that both these countries have so much in common in terms of scale, civilization, history, and as emerging economies. The chapters in this book have been written by sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists rather than by economists, so the emphasis is on cultural shifts rather than economic statistics. Transnational developments, like tourism, karaoke, soap operas, and the art market, have all been extensively covered in this book. © Christophe Jaffrelot and Peter van der Veer, 2008. All right reserved.
Article
The middle class is the basis of a strong and functional democracy. Indian economic policy has, in the past, focused almost entirely on the poor, but the end of poverty lies in the production of the middle class, one that would include many of those who are currently among the poor. This article offers a strategy that takes us away from an economy split between the poor and the rich, and from a charitable notion of economic redistribution to the possibility of rights-based claims for economic justice.
Article
The Indian information technology industry is often represented as providing employment opportunities to a wider cross section of society than has been the case with other professional and white collar jobs. However, available data suggest that the social composition of the IT workforce is more homogeneous than is often supposed, in that the workforce is largely urban, middle class, and high/middle caste. The processes of exclusion that operate in the educational system and in recruitment, as also the ideology of "merit" in the context of elite opposition to reservation, create this relative social homogeneity in the IT workforce.
Article
The article explores how participation in the transnational interactive services industry impacts on the social identifications of Indian call centre workers. The article's analytical framework builds from Bourdieu's work on social stratification, contemporary theorizations of aesthetic labour and conceptualizations of the commodification of self as integral to aesthetic labour. The research data are drawn from a large scale survey and in-depth interviews with Indian call centre workers, focusing on their lifestyles and social values. Comparison is made with Indian and international youth cohorts. The research findings demonstrate the extent to which this group has adopted transnational middle class values and lifestyles. The article concludes that Indian call centre workers can be characterized as part of an emergent global middle class sharing common lifestyles and values with their counterparts in western countries.
Article
Summary Western notions of the 'middle class' are of little obvious relevance to developing countries. Instead, the middle class is identified here as those living above the median poverty line of developing countries, even if still poor by rich-country standards. Over 1990-2005, economic growth and global distributional shifts allowed an extra 1.2 billion people to join the developing world's middle class. Four-fifths came from Asia, and half from China. Many of those in this new middle class remain fairly close to poverty. Only 100 million of the 1.2 billion would not be considered poor in any developing county. Economic growth typically came with an expanding middle class.